I really enjoy movies based on comic books, whether they be well-known like the X-Men movies, or obscure films like the 1990 Captain America. Every time I watch one (or re-watch one) I write up a post with my thoughts. I try to be spoiler free, but the older the movie, the less careful I am. This time it was the 1983 movie Superman III.
IMDb Rating: 4.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes critics: 26%
Rotten Tomatoes audience: 23%
My Rating: 5/10
While the first two Superman movies were funny, they were adventure movies more than comedies. This one goes the opposite direction. It fully embraces the campiness of the characters, and bringing in noted comedian Richard Pryor as a lead makes it all the more obvious that this one’s a comedy first. It’s not just the tone that separates this installment from the previous two films. Margo Kidder’s Lois Lane is really just a cameo. Jimmy Olsen’s part is fairly small as well. There’s no Lex Luthor or fortress of solitude either.
The villains in the movie are a little scattered. Webster is obviously the primary villain, but he’s also just a sad attempt at recreating Luthor. There’s also “Evil” Superman, but he’s not even all that evil. He has virtually unlimited power, but the worst things he can think of doing are straightening the tower of Pisa and blowing out the Olympic torch. That’s pretty benign considering that he could wipe out entire nations. The real villain should have been Brainiac, but it’s very apparent that the writers knew nothing about computers, and so the attempt to introduce Brainiac is healf-hearted at best.
Despite all of its problems, I think the movie falls into the so bad it’s good category. I remember the first time I saw it I was cringing through the whole thing, but this time through, with the proper expectations, I really enjoyed it.